For all their pretensions of bonhomie, the trio of superstars in the 1950s Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar were fiercely competitive, so much so that when Raj Kapoor offered the other role in his love triangle Sangam to Dilip Kumar, he turned it down, arguing he would have little done in a Raj Kapoor home production.
But that’s not how it was in the beginning. Dilip Saab and Raj Saab were genuine friends in the early part of their careers.In fact they did a film together in 1949, the memorable Mehboob Khan directed love triangle Andaz where Dilip Kumar stole the show in a negative role. However, he still felt cheated.
Strange, the Thespian had the far more complex compelling and captivating role, plus all the hit Mukesh songs to lip-sync (Tu kahe agar jeevan bhar, Hum aaj keesi ko hai baithe,Toote na dil toote na) and still he felt cheated and vowed to stay away from Raj Kapoor. Though all was outwardly normal and Dilip Saab and Raj Saab met for social events at each other’s homes with their respective wives the shadow of a sense of rivalry never abandoned their relationship.
When RK launched Sangam he went straight to Dilip Kumar. The project was then titled Gharonda and RK wanted to cast Dilip, Nargis and himself, the Andaz trio. Dilip refused. Nargis left RK. And RK finally had to make the film with Rajendra Kumar who was labeled ‘the poor man’s Dilip Kumar’ in the media.
RK also went on to have a torrid relationship with the film’s leading lady Vyjanthimala though she later denied anything but a professional association with her director and co-star.
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